After several days of trying, the Dow finally closed Tuesday above 13,000 - hitting 13,005.12, up 23.61 points for the day.
The Dow last closed above 13,000 on May 19, 2008, almost four months before the fall of the Lehman Brothers investment bank triggered the worst of the financial crisis.
However, analysts say the road to a 14,000 close is likely to be bumpy.
"I don't think 13,000 guarantees 14,000," said John Manley, chief equity strategist for the Wells Fargo funds group. "I do think there still is a lot of skepticism about the short term."
The U.S. stock market is off to a strong start this year, rising higher and faster than investors expected.
But economists have pointed out those bumps in the road ahead, including the rising price of oil and gasoline, the debt crisis in Europe, and a weak economic recovery.
The next big test comes March 9, when the government releases the number of jobs added by the country in February and updates the unemployment rate.